Auckland International Airport

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Auckland Airport (AKL)

The first place you will probably see when coming to New Zealand is Auckland International Airport, the countries largest and busiest airport which was officially opened in January 1966.

Auckland airport is serviced by several major airlines such as Air New Zealand, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Emirates and United Airlines, flying to destinations in America, Asia and Europe.

The main international terminal building was named after Jean Gardner Batten CBE, a pioneer New Zealand aviator in the '20s and '30s.

Famous among other flying achievements for her 1934 solo flight from England to Australia the first by anyone, male or female.

Auckland International Arrivals

After landing you'll have to queue for passport control which can take around 45 minutes to get the stamp in your passport. Afterwards you'll collect your luggage and clear customs in the immigration arrival hall.

AKL International Terminal
Auckland International Airport photo

Make sure you declare everything to customs and MAF (Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries) as there are strict regulations concerning the import of natural products such as food, animal products, wood and basketwork. If in doubt, go through the red channel and ask, the fine is heavy if you're caught importing illegal goods.

When we first arrived we asked about baby food in unopened jars and baby formula in an opened box, neither of which was a problem.


Air New Zealand Aircraft
Auckland International Airport Air new Zealand Aircraft photo
If you are flying on to another destination in New Zealand such as Christchurch or Wellington you'll have to change to the Auckland Domestic Terminal. It's only about 800 meters away from the Auckland International Airport terminal so you can easily walk it in 10 minutes but a free inter terminal bus is provided. I would recommend checking in your luggage at the Domestic Counter, located just after arrivals in the international Terminal so you don't have to drag all your bags with you.

Getting into Auckland City

Auckland International Airport is Located 21 km (14 miles) south-west of the city of Auckland in the suburb of Mangere and as there is no train service you are going to have to find another way to get there.

Auckland Airbus

One of the cheapest ways to reach the City is the Auckland Airbus which operates 7 days a week, 365 days a year and leaves every 20 minutes (30 minutes after 6 pm) from 6 am to 10 pm. The journey takes between 45mins and 1 hour depending on the traffic.

When returning to Auckland Airport the first bus departs the City at 4:35 am and the last bus leaves at 8:50 pm.

Auckland Air Bus runs a continuous circuit between the Airport and the City, stopping at most major hotels on the way and there's plenty of room on board for all your luggage. Supershuttle

A more convenient way to reach your destination is the Supershuttle, a mini bus with a trailer that can carry up to 11 passengers and all your luggage. You'll find Supershuttle just outside Auckland Airport Terminal exit. The cost is NZ$20 plus NZ$7 for each additional person so for a family or group it's the cheapest way into the Auckland City centre.

For your return trip call in advance or book on line and they will pick you up from your door and take you directly to the airport.


Taxis are readily available from the taxi rank in front of the terminals and will cost you from around NZ$50 to the city. Of course this is per trip so if there are 3 or 4 of you it's still pretty good value.

Hire Car

All the usual car hire companies are available at Auckland Airport, just go to the desk and book. If you don't need a car straight away it may be better to get yourself to where your staying and hire a car from the CBD later on when you're settled in. There are lots of good companies around, from budget hire to top of the range cars.

Auckland Airport Departures

When departing Auckland International Airport for overseas destinations you used to have to pay a departure tax. This was NZ$25 inc. tax and was payable by every international passenger except for those in transit for less than 24 hours and children under 12 years old. However, I'm sure you'll be happy to learn that since 1 July 2008 you will no longer have to pay the departure fee.

Airport Parking

So no more queueing at Travelex, just head for passport control and through to the departure area. Auckland International Airport has all the usual choice of excellent duty free shops, baby changing facilities, cafés and bars to keep you entertained while waiting to board.

Have a good flight. Be sure to visit Auckland again !

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